Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") fear President Trump will force them to lose their current work authorization and immigration status in the United States. This is due to Mr. Trump's vow to undo President Obama's executive actions on immigration. This article explores some options of what could happen.
Currently, DACA recipients have renewable 2-year authorizations to live and work in the United States. Since 2012, hundreds of thousands of people have applied for and received DACA across the U.S. Here are a few potential options for what happens after Trump is sworn in as president:
1. DACA is cancelled. One option is that the entire DACA program is cancelled effective immediately once Trump is sworn in to office. This would likely result in notices being issued to all current DACA recipients ordering them to surrender their work authorization cards. Without valid work authorization, their social security cards would also be invalid. This would prevent them in many states from being able to renew their driver licenses as well. DACA is also an assurance that the recipient will not be deported, the cancellation of which could signal the government's intent to resume deportations, especially those with outstanding orders of removal.
2. DACA is allowed to expire, and no new applications will be adjudicated. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Trump may be ordered to simply stop adjudicating new applications or renewal applications for DACA. This means current DACA recipients may be able to maintain their status temporarily until their current work authorization approval period expires. However, they would then be unable to file to renew their DACA and would revert back to having no lawful status. Anyone currently eligible for DACA would be unable to file an application after President Trump takes office.
3. Congress passes immigration legislation. With both houses of Congress being majority Republican, it is likely that immigration legislation will be passed. New laws created by Congress, coupled with the reversal of President Obama's executive action, would likely create a new face to the immigration process in the United States. Most Republicans in office have been critical of President Obama's actions to give undocumented individuals lawful status in the United States, meaning new legislation may have strict requirements severely disadvantaging those who entered the United States without permission. However, it could also open up new avenues to lawful status, even those currently with DACA.
These are just a few potential options of what could happen. If you are currently a DACA recipient, or have other immigration related questions, check out our website here or our blog and give our office a call at (615) 366-1211 to discuss your case.